I should have turned this rifle back in already, but I can’t. Not yet. I’m just not ready to stop shooting the Vudoo Gun Work’s Sinister.
The Sinister is a precision rimfire rifle. It is as well made as the best centerfire precision rifles in the world. As such, it is not cheap. With an MSRP of over $2,300, the Sinister is much more expensive than the vast majority of the rimfire guns people shoot.
It’s worth every penny.
Heck, if you paid that much for a centerfire rifle of this quality, it would likely be second hand, and you’d have gotten a good deal. The only reason rimfire guns are less expensive is because they aren’t as robust and well built as their centerfire counterparts.
Except when they are. The Sinister is.
I shoot a .22 LR rifle more than anything else. For much of the last decade, I’ve shot a suppressed M&P 15-22 .22 LR rifle almost every day, just for general fun and target practice. I also take that same rifle out on many hunts. Especially when hunting pigs at night, a suppressed .22 LR is great if I want to collect a few varmints along the way. I also use it for pest eradication on our farm.
It’s a handy little rifle, but it’s a 2.5 MOA gun on a very good day. (My Winchester 52 is much more accurate, but it has been relegated to the bench.) My 15-22 is a neat, useful gun, but not precise enough to even be remotely competitive.
Enter the Vudoo Gun Works Sinister. This is about the perfect rimfire rifle for someone like me. I enjoy shooting competitively, but that’s not most of my shooting. I’d love to have a gun I could compete with in rimfire matches, as well as using it to hunt and plink with. This is that gun.
I switched from a chassis gun to a more traditional stock for my competition-focused rifle in 2019. That’s one of the reasons I like the Sinister so much. It feels like my competition gun (which has also been my primary hunting rifle over this last season). It’s easy to practice all the same things that I need for my centerfire rifle, but more quietly and very inexpensively using the Sinister rimfire.
In general, a 40gr, supersonic .22 LR round shot from a rifle-length barrel and zeroed at 100 yards will have about 35 inches of drop and about 16 inches of windage with a 10 MPH crosswind, when shot at a 200 yard target. The M118LR 7.62 NATO caliber cartridge will have about 34″ of drop and about 15″ of windage, when shot at a 400 yards target. The 5.56 NATO Mk262 cartridge will have about 34″ of drop and about 17″ of windage, again, at 400 yards.
Pretty neat, huh? The .22 LR allows you to practice everything, including the drop and windage of centerfire cartridges at longer distances.
Nothing matters on a precision rifle if it’s not, in fact, precise. The Vudoo Gun Works Sinister is a precision rifle in every possible sense of the word.
The Vudoo Gun Works representative I spoke with said that their barreled actions are built with the Lapua series of .22 LR rounds in mind. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of that ammunition near me. It’s available on-line, and if you want to get seriously competitive, I highly recommend you take advantage of Lapua’s Rimfire Test Shooting Service to know exactly how good your rifle can shoot a particular lot of ammo.
Instead, I shot as many different kind of ammo I could find. I bought at least one box of ammo from every single store I visited, plus I dipped into my own stash.
The worst grouping I could get from this rifle was using the Winchester Copper coated 40gr HP bullet moving at 1,300fps. That’s a shame, as it’s the round that I use most often, and has proven to be absolute doom on our grain-thieving raccoons.
But wait…it doesn’t matter. That round — the worst-performing one — shot .8-inch five-round groups at 100 yards. Again, that is the worst performing round I shot through this gun.
Dirt cheap, common Aquila 40gr HP shot .6-inch groups. So did the CCI 45gr subsonic “Suppressor” round.
The CCI “Standard Velocity” shot .5-inch groups. All groups are averages of four strings of rive rounds shot in as much time as it took with the rifle in a Caldwell Singer Shooting rest, at 100 yards. For this review, a Vortex Viper PST set to 24X was used.
Consistent half-inch groups from a .22 LR rifle shooting inexpensive big box store ammunition is a game-changer.
Backing up a bit and shooting off bags, 200 yard shooting was tons of fun. Five-round groups of under 1.5 inches from several different types of ammunition were common. Shooting on steel and using a silencer was particularly fun, as there’s so much time before the faint “ping” sound comes back to the shooter. It’s enough time to shoot, and then just listen for the tiny bell to go off in front of you.
Of course, shooting just off a bench and bags isn’t what this rifle was designed for. It was made to shoot off anything you might find in the field. Or off nothing at all.
I had a great time shooting from the kneel or seated, with the rifle rested on tree branches, or my pack, or a stump. Although I already liked the Sinister, this is where I became completely smitten with this little rifle.
(It should be noted that, while the rifle itself is exceptional, ammunition has also come a long way. The standard deviation of the muzzle velocity of that CCI “Standard Velocity” round was 10 fps. For a cheap rimfire round, that’s amazing.)
Shooting seated on my pack with the rifle rested on a cedar tree branch, this photo above is my first group on a steel target at 175 yards.
Of course, there’s not much energy left at that range, so even most varmint applications are out. But still, the very notion of hitting a rabbit in the head at 150 yards, consistently and quietly, is a lot of fun. Hasenpfeffer, with either rabbit or squirrel, is one of my favorite dishes.
The Vudoo Gun Works action features a true controlled-feed bolt. The rimmed cartridge is picked up by twin claws as they engage the shell from the magazine. There is no wobble, and the bullet is right in line with the bore from the moment the bolt gets ahold of it.
Only in the geologic sense is controlled-feed considered new. But for the rimfire, it has particular importance.
Yes, it ensures that the tiny cartridge doesn’t go flying out and about when moved rapidly. That’s actually more important on an easily thrown, low mass case like a .22 LR round than it is something more massive, like the 8mm Mauser. But that’s not the most important reason to have a controlled-round-feed action for your rimfire.
As the bullet enters right in line with the bore, there’s no need for a feed ramp. On a jacketed round, or maybe a hard cast crimped bullet, there’s likely no deformation of the bullet as it enters the chamber on a feed ramp.
Not so with the soft lead tips of many .22 LR bullets. The lack of a feed ramp also means that longer bullets also won’t get angled in, possibly loosening the grip of the case mouth on the bullet, which leads to inconsistent pressures.
That doesn’t matter much if you want to hit a rabbit at 50 yards. It matters a lot if you want to hit him in the eye.
The V-22’s action is just as overbuilt as the Mauser K98’s. That is to say, it is not. It’s simply without compromise.
The recoil lug is inherent to the action itself. What a far cry from most factory centerfire rifles of the day. Is the point of an integral recoil lug on a .22LR rifle the safety of the shooter? I mean, kinda? Maybe? But no, it helps keep the receiver still in the action for perfect consistency.
Look at the bolt handle. That’s a solid once-piece, integral bolt handle. That is better than many precision centerfire rifles on the market. The bolt handle is threaded and includes a large, easy-to-find and easy-to-manipulate bolt knob.
As you might imagine, the bolt throw on the V-22 rimfire action is similar in height to a centerfire rifle, just really short.
Although it doesn’t slide far, the bolt absolutely glides into place. Because of the short amount of travel, it’s difficult to move slowly enough to find any wiggle or play in the bolt. Or maybe it’s just the simple fact that there is no wiggle or play in the bolt. It’s on a tight, short, rail.
The bolt removes from the rear of the action, like many precision rifles, with a press of the release on the side of the receiver.
Like Remington’s action and its clones, the safety come with the trigger. The trigger that comes with the Sinister is the excellent Timney 510. The trigger comes set from Vudoo at 2 lbs. The trigger on this particular T&E model broke at…wait for it…2 lbs. Consistently and cleanly.
However, if that trigger doesn’t do it for you, any quality Remington 700 footprint trigger can be included instead.
An action that includes a controlled-round-feed and also allows for the massive aftermarket trigger (not to mention stock) options of the Remington 700 is the best of both worlds. It gives the shooter tons of options, both before and after the sale, while providing a product that is superior to the vast majority of center fire target rifles.
This Sinister rifle comes with a 20 MOA scope base attached to the receiver. A 20 MOA base is the standard for most centerfire competition rifles, but might not give you the elevation you need for the ballistic arc of the .22 LR when shooting longer ranges. If you should choose, you can instead get a zero, 30, 40, or even 60 MOA rail installed on any of the rifles or actions.
You’ll find a threaded muzzle at the end of the hand-lapped, single-point cut 416 stainless steel barrel. Vudoo Gun Works sells full rifles, like this Sinister, but also just sells actions or barreled actions. Not only can you choose your caliber, between .22 LR and .17 HM2, but also the finish, length, and contour of the barrel.
The patent pending magazines from Vudoo Gun Works are built as an AI-style modified magazine. The 10-round magazines aren’t cheap. They run $40 for a single mag and $100 for a three-pack. They do, however, perform flawlessly.
The magazine release is a little different than most others, and gives you two different release options. The more commonly seen option of a paddle release is attached to the far side of the trigger guard. Inside the trigger guard you’ll find a button release. Either works just fine, and the use will be based purely on your preference.
The Sinister sports a custom Grayboe Terrain stock. I’ve been a fan of the Grayboe stocks since they came out, and I have their Terrain on a couple of my hunting rifles now. I have found them to be consistent, rigid, and extremely well thought out.
This one has been customized a bit for Vudoo, but the Terrain is a smart stock choice for the rifle. The Terrain is a primarily hunting/sometimes competition model, as is the point of the Sinister rifle as a whole.
Vudoo Gun Works Sinister’s Grayboe stock (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
It features a good, but not too wide palm swell, so that the gun can be still gripped and controlled off-hand. You’ll find the cheek rises up, but again, isn’t particularly wide.
The fore end is flatter, and sits well on a bag, pack, or branch. It has twin studs in the front for mounting sling and bipod, as well a one in the back. For most folks, it will feel just like their precision hunting rifle, because it is just like their precision hunting rifle. That’s because this is a precision hunting rifle, just one chambered in .22 LR.
As I said when I started the article, I have been shooting this gun for a bit now. My articles usually publish well after I’ve turned the guns back in, but I’m still holding on to this one, and still shooting it. It certainly has well over 1,000 rounds through it by now. I’ve shot it almost every day I’ve had it.
Any why not? It’s tons of fun, the ammunition is dirt cheap, and with my Underground Tactical “Little Puff” silencer, it’s incredibly quiet.
As you might expect, during that entire time, I’ve had zero issues with the rifle. I’ve also had no problems with the magazine, including loading, feeding, or inserting and dropping freely. I haven’t cleaned the rifle yet, and I shot most of those rounds suppressed. It has been perfectly reliable.
The fact that .22 LR precision rifle competitions are a thing, and the fact that rimfire competitions are increasing in popularity, gives me hope for our nation. That’s not a joke. I think it’s the best and most reassuring aspect of the shooting sports to happen in a long time.
My long time readers have certainly heard this refrain from me: Your rimfire is the most important rifle you own. Rifles like this one, (although there are none quite like this), will do more to make new shooters good, and good shooters great, than any centerfire rifle on the market.
According to the Vudoo Gun Works website, the V-22 action was a labor of love by their chief engineer, Mike Bush. It shows. This has been one of the finest rifles I have ever reviewed in any caliber.
Specifications: Vudoo Gun Works Sinister Rimfire Rifle
Action: V-22, Patented Vudoo Rimfire repeater action with control round feed
Caliber: .22 LR or .17HM2
Barrel: 416R Stainless, single point cut with Vudoo chamber. Barrel Length:16”, 18” or 20” in Kukri or Specter contour
Trigger: Timney 510 preset at 2 lbs
Stock: Custom Grayboe Terrain
Magazine: V-2210 Patented Vudoo mag in A.I. format, 10 round capacity
Finish: Cerakoted in Graphite Black, Mil Spec Green, FDE, Cobalt, Burnt Bronze, Sniper Gray, custom Vudoo Green
Weight: 8 lbs.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and Appearance * * * *
This is a precision bolt action rifle that is highly customizable. In this instance, the stock has been done well, but it is the quality, fit and finish of the receiver that bumps up the score a bit.
Customization * * * * *
Built to sit in the footprint of an action it outshines in every possible way, all of the Vudoo Gun Works barreled actions and rifles are extremely customizable, both before and after purchase.
Reliability * * * * *
Accuracy * * * * *
Better than I thought possible for a .22 LR rifle.
Overall * * * * *
The Vudoo Gun Works Sinister rifle is perfectly reliable, infinitely practical, and extremely accurate. Without a doubt, this has been the most enjoyable rifle I’ve shot in quite a while. Unfortunately, shooting is often work, but for this rifle, I have to thank TTAG and Vudoo Gun Works for the opportunity of getting behind this superb gun.